Pictured left to right, Barclays CEO for Business Banking Ian Rand and Marcin Dulebski from Bristol Blue Glass Henbury Ltd
“It’s never too late to diversify”, says business owner, Mark Jakeaways, a mechanic by trade since 1976, who over the last five years has adapted his business model, not once but twice, in a bold move to source alternative revenue streams.
Based on Wyckbeck Road, Henbury, Bristol, Mark, with support of a six figure finance package from Barclays, has adapted two units at his 0.7acre site, to add glass blowing and memorabilia to his core business offering of garage repair and MOT, and landlord to firms hiring and selling vehicles on his forecourt.
Bristol Blue Glass Henbury Ltd, opened in October 2015, and head blower, Marcin Dulebski, produces onsite, handcrafted Bristol Blue Glass renowned for its historical quality and standards, with a modern twist to compliment the more traditional styles associated with the brand. This includes an exciting collection of boxing memorabilia signed by some the World’s greatest boxers including Frank Bruno and Mike Tyson.
Sporting and music memorabilia is Mark’s most recent business venture. His sister company, Park Lane Memorabilia, stocks a wide range of signed items, and similar to his exclusive range of boxing gloves made out of Bristol Blue Glass, all purchases come with a certificate of authenticity and a photograph of the actual signing taking place.
Mark says, “Owning a piece of memorabilia appeals to many people, some do it for fun, others because it spurs happy memories of an important moment in time, such as when England won the Rugby World Cup. I’m also seeing a trend of small firms and business owners buying pieces for their offices and boardrooms, as it makes a great conversation opener and helps to build rapport.”
Mark employs a local team of six and the business is experiencing annual double digit growth in turnover since diversifying. This looks set to continue, as Mark is set to bring world renowned sports stars to Bristol the most recent being World Champion Boxer Anthony Joshua MBE where a sell-out crowd of over 500 guests met their boxing idol.
Jason Grail, Barclays Business Manager, Bristol, who put the finance deal in place to support the enterprise, adds, “It’s great to see a local business growing and thriving and taking their business to the next level. Mark has a background of entrepreneurialism and we look forward to supporting his plans in the future as he continues to grow his expanding customer base.”
Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking, UK, recently visited Bristol Blue Glass Henbury Ltd, to find out more about the business and try his hand at glass blowing. He added: “We recognise the importance of backing small businesses such as this and removing the myth that banks don’t want to lend. This is a great example of a Bristol business which continues to go from strength to strength and we’re delighted to be part of their growth strategy and banking partner.”